How would you select the most appropriate method of collecting client information?
Personal trainers have a legally bound duty to minimise the risks and maximise the benefits of exercise for their clients and to protect themselves from litigation.
It is therefore essential that, prior to participation, clients are:
– Screened to identify risks of potential risks of participation that may need to be referred to the GP for clearance.
– Consulted to gather information that can be used to guide the planning of the personal training programme. This may include the client’s:
– Personal goals.
– Medical history.
– Physical activity history.
– Physical activity likes and dislikes.
– Motivations and barriers to participation.
– Current fitness level.
– Stage of readiness.
– Posture and alignment.
– Functional ability.
Screening and Consulting
The reasons for screening and consulting the client include safety, programme design, monitoring, lifestyle evaluation, rapport, motivation, education and professionalism.
– Written questionnaires and oral questioning (interview/consultation) can be used to identify clients at high risk (medical contraindications).
– High-risk clients can be referred to appropriate healthcare professionals for medical clearance.
– Client informed consent can be gained prior to participation.
Programme design and goals
– Results from health and fitness assessments can be used to establish a set of fitness baselines and a starting point for the programme.
– Goals can be agreed.
– An individual exercise programme can be prescribed.
– Client preferences and specific needs can be accommodated.
– Information gathered can be used to monitor a client’s rate of progress.
– Health and fitness assessments can be repeated at staged intervals to identify changes made.
– Goals can be reviewed and updated.
Total lifestyle evaluation
– Consideration can be given to all lifestyle factors that might influence progress, including stress, daily activity levels, occupation and eating habits or lifestyle habits (smoking and drinking).
– A consultation interview provides an opportunity for the trainer to get to know the client and establish a positive connection. Successful working relationships are always built on rapport.
– Consultation also provides the opportunity to determine an appropriate communication style to show empathy and understanding to a clients personal circumstances.
– Rapport and relationship with the client enhances potential for long term commitment.
Motivation and adherence
– Client motivation can be gauged by actively listening to the client and hearing their motivations and barriers for making changes.
– Consultation with the client gives the trainer the opportunity to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing certain lifestyle behaviours.
– The trainer can listen to the client and provide education and information so that clients make informed lifestyle choices.
– Consultation with the client is professional practice and reflects trainer credibility.
– It also provides an opportunity to explain working practices, policies and procedures with the client.